Physical and imaginary spaces
A possible history of cinema unfolds in parallel to the genres, formats and technical apparatus that this artistic language encompasses. Such chronicle can also be observed, over time, in the set of environments in which different audiences have come into contact with cinematographic works.
At the end of the 19th century, the first cinematographs were placed in improvised tents, as a part of popular fairs. In these environments, which featured puppetry, juggling, theatrical performances, among other attractions, the first technical moving images were witnessed with great curiosity and wonder, caused by the illusion of life being visually reproduced. After a few years, live music was added to these images. This demanded the building of auditoriums similar to concert halls, to accommodate both the audience and the dozens of musicians who made such experiences possible.
Later on, as sound reproduction technologies became increasingly popular, talking pictures were shown in various locations around the world and led to what we call “street movie theaters”, which were then articulated into ever bolder architectural complexes, with simultaneous exhibitions made possible by the numerous screening rooms, often placed inside shopping malls, equipped with three-dimensional visual and sound technologies, among other technical implements.
Alongside movie theaters, domestic spaces also played an essential role in spreading film culture. Television, followed by the arrival of VHS and digital technologies, allowed audiences to access audiovisual productions in their homes. The current context, which includes streaming platforms, is a consequence of that experience and has proven to be of extreme importance for preserving the audiovisual production chain under the uncertainty and limited access to screening rooms brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In its 45th edition, the São Paulo International Film Festival reinforces the broadcasting of worldwide filmographies to Brazilian audiences in the context of expanded cinema. For Sesc, a partner to Mostra since its very first edition, expanding access to audiovisual works is a fundamental measure, as it includes the diversity of narratives and people —viewers, filmmakers and other professionals of the audiovisual industry— in the discursive space of the arts. And this, through a symbolic projection of reality, deepens and makes human experience more complex in its plurality.
Danilo Santos de Miranda
Regional director, Sesc São Paulo